Lagos — THE International Data Corporation, (IDC) last week released details of a global research study showcasing the information technology (IT) industry's impact on "job creation, company formation, local IT spending and tax revenues" in 82 countries and regions worldwide.
Commissioned by Microsoft, the study covers the areas that comprise 99.5 per cent of the global IT spend with Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa as countries in focus for Africa.
The study predicted that IT spending would create just over seven (7) million new jobs and 100,000 new businesses worldwide over the next four years. It also predicted that in 2007, Microsoft-relaated activities would be responsible for almost 15 million jobs in an IT industry of just over 35 million people 42 per cent of total IT employment globally. In the Middle East and Africa, (MEA) of the 1.2 million people in IT-related employment this year, 53 per cent are involved with Microsoft and its ecosystem of partners.
Over the next four years, IDC predicts that the IT sector will generate more than 393,000 new jobs and account for the creation of more than 9,000 new companies in the region. This will help produce $12.5 billion in new tax revenues and contribute $34.4 billion to GDP. In Nigeria, the figures show that 47 per cent of the 84,000 people in IT related employment are involved with Microsoft and its ecosystem of partners. More than 23,000 new jobs and 400 new companies are expected from IT over the next four years, producing more than N29.5 billion ($200m) in tax revenues and contributing N141 billion ($1.1 billion) to GDP.
"Today, technology is a key factor for economic, social and technological progress, and for the sustainability of economies all over the world," said John Gantz, IDC's Chief Research Officer. "The IDC research shows that software provides a large contribution to a vibrant IT economy. It also shows the significant contribution made by the Microsoft ecosystem, especially in the creation of local businesses and local jobs."
The study also found that Microsoft serves as an economic catalyst in every country in which it operates. The revenues earned by companies working with Microsoft far exceed the revenues earned by Microsoft itself. For every one dollar that Microsoft earns in 2007, companies working with Microsoft in the Middle East & Africa region will earn just over $12. In Nigeria this ratio 1:11. "IDC's research quantifies the enormous power of software to create local jobs and grow economies in developed and developing markets," said Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, General Manager at Microsoft Nigeria.
"Millions of people are employed globally in Microsoft-related activities, generating more than half a trillion dollars in taxes in 2007 for governments worldwide. Across sub-Saharan Africa, this trend is being mirrored, although we believe that IT has an even greater opportunity to underpin growth, economic development and the general upliftment of the people of the continent." Illustrating the powerful economic impact of the Microsoft ecosystem, partners all over the world are innovating and experiencing significant business growth.
"We focus on providing innovative IT solutions to help businesses (public and private) operate more efficiently and profitably. We believe technology and support provided from partners such as Microsoft has enabled us to create solutions that are bringing significant benefits to small and medium-sized businesses in Nigeria," said Mr. Kedrick B. Weeks, Managing Director, Maevva Solutions.
"Our solutions also provide opportunities for young people by bringing young accounting and IT professionals together to deploy the solutions to our clients thereby increasing the accountants" knowledge of IT and giving the IT professionals a greater appreciation for business and business drivers. With the huge economic growth potential in Nigeria, [this] can play a key role in making that potential a reality by training young minds and supporting business and job growth."
In terms of market growth, IDC predicts that spending on IT in the MEA markets will grow at just under 10 per cent per annum for the next four years, with software growing at almost 11 per cent. In 2007, just over $31bn was spent on IT, almost $5bn of which was on software almost 15 per cent. The report also shows that almost 40% of IT employees are engaged in creating, distributing, installing or servicing software. Spending on IT in Nigeria will grow at almost 15 per cent per annum for the next four years, with software growing at just over 14 per cent.
In 2007, the report shows that almost N74 billion ($560 million) is being spent on IT in 2007; N7.4 billion ($56 million) of which is on software around 10 per cent. Mba-Uzoukwu reiterated Microsoft's strong commitment to contribute significantly to local software economies. "Information technology has already helped empower more than a billion people, but there are another 5 billion we have yet to reach," he said.
"As part of Unlimited Potential, and as highlighted by IDC's analysis, Microsoft is committed to transforming education, fostering local innovation, and enabling jobs and opportunities to help create a sustained cycle of social and economic growth for everyone in Africa. Our goal is to enable people and communities around the world to realise their dreams through relevant, accessible and affordable technologies."